Congratulations: Nicholas Cozier receiving??his prize from Mrs. Deborah Lashley, wife of Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley (C. Pitt/BGIS)

The Ministry of Youth’s mentorship programme which is currently being developed for disadvantaged youth should come on stream during the next financial year.

This disclosure came today from Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, while delivering the feature address at the Lester Vaughan School’s Speech Day and Prize-Giving Ceremony, at its Cane Garden, St. Thomas location.

Mr. Lashley explained that the aim of the new programme was to empower young people between the ages of 16 and 24 by providing them with an opportunity to gain skills, work experience and to create an environment for possible medium and long term employment. He added that some stakeholders in the private sector had already verbally committed themselves to being involved in the programme.

Stressing that the development of all young people was important to the Ministry and the country, he said: "We have also recently started dialogue with interest groups such as the churches, non-governmental organisations, social agencies and the police to look at ways of counteracting crime and deviancy among some of our youth."

Mr. Lashley also noted that the Ministry conducted a survey of 1000 disengaged youth across the island. "The results of this survey will be used to better address the needs and aspiration of those young persons who feel somewhat disconnected from society," he promised.

The Minister urged the students of the school to become a part of positive organisations and groups such as the National Youth Forum, while disclosing that within a few days the draft National Youth Policy would be released.

Chairman of the Board, Edward Tull, said the school was on an upward path to development and commended the principal and teachers for a job well done.

Mr. Tull urged the parents to remind the children to treat the school’s property with respect.

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